Boeing Defense, Space & Security2008-05-06 08:03:11

Boeing Team Receives Howard Hughes Award for Network-Centric Rotorcraft Demonstrations

A team comprised of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], the U.S. Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, AMRDEC Aviation Systems Integration Facility, Harris Corp. and Rockwell Collins received the American Helicopter Society's (AHS) 2008 Howard Hughes Award during the AHS International Annual Forum in Montreal on April 30.

The Network Centric Operations (NCO) Technology Development Team won the award for successfully demonstrating how the integration of network-enabling capabilities on rotorcraft platforms leads to improved battlefield situational awareness and mission effectiveness.

Among the platforms tested was a prototype of Boeing's Block III AH-64D Apache Longbow, which will provide network-centric warfare capabilities for the U.S. Army's current and future force. In laboratory tests, the team demonstrated interoperability between the Apache Block III and the Common Avionics Architecture System, an open systems architecture based on commercial standards. In addition, the Apache Block III became the first network-enabled combat helicopter to conduct operations in a field environment at the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Experiment 1.1 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Experiments throughout 2007 demonstrated rotorcraft interoperability with key NCO technologies, including:

• Network radios capable of hosting Internet Protocol waveforms
• Middleware software to provide network connection, discovery, authentication and data-distribution services
• Advanced software applications for situational awareness, mission planning and collaboration services
• Gateway applications to integrate new network information with the platform's legacy Operational Flight Program applications
• Presentation systems for effective interface to the aircrew, such as the FCS Warfighter Machine Interface System.

"As U.S. and joint ground forces increasingly operate in a network-centric environment, the tests that this team successfully conducted prove that net-enabled rotorcraft platforms -- such as the Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopter -- can provide information superiority on the battlefield while maintaining their primary roles," said Al Winn, Boeing Apache Programs vice president.
Other Boeing platforms and programs that participated in the tests included FCS, the V-22 Osprey, the CH-47 Chinook, the F/A-18 Hornet and Joint Effects Based Command and Control (JEBC2).

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